I should not read the Evening Standard. I am developing a town version of the middle-england Mail reader's "disgusted of tunbridge wells" etc.
Yesterday I read a letter by some posh fellow moaning about the very last remnants of real life near Kings Cross (the bookies' shops across the road). I thought, "Fuck!" They really do want to turn all of London - ALL of London - into a Guardian readers' wet dream of perfectly tasteful, safe, fragrant, "quarters" or should that be "quartiers" or "arondissements". Please, leave a little of the dirty mucky seedy London that some of us need as much as we need air and water.
Today I read of plans to "gut" the market halls of Smithfields to build more offices.
"Low-rise", they say.
It makes me love the hulking stumps of the square mile. London has already lost any battle over skylines and heights. The best recent buildings are the gherkin and the shard, they both have character and intelligence and poise and grace. The worst are those tastefully scaled excresences around St Pauls, etc. They do not immediately offend the eye, but when you try walking around them you get that sense of gloom, the ghastly touch of HRH Chas his self. The beautiful medieval streets have gone. You might as well be walking in Croydon, not in what should be absolute heart of the city of London.
If you need offices, please build them super-high, do some more shards, get all those offices up off the ground, shoot them up into massive syringes into the sky. The old meat market? I would rather die than see it turn into yet another Covent Garden, but that at least seems a way to keep the shape, to feed the greed of developers, and to bring in the spenders. And I am going to die soon anyway!
SO - leave Smithfields to the meat-men and clubbers and the very rich advertising folk of Clerkenwell who - much as we might not like them awfully - at least want somewhere interestingly blasted to stumble home through after a heavy night out.
For good god's sake, PLEASE don't make Smithfields into yet another Broadgate/ St Pauls/Spitalfields festival of blandness.